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U.S. News & World Report: Are At-Home 'Learning Pods' the Right Fit for Your Family?

U.S. News & World Report recently quoted two Cedars-Sinai physicians for an article about "learning pods" – teacher- or tutor-led small groups of kids who are learning together in-person during the pandemic, while many schools are offering only online learning. Cedars-Sinai pediatric infectious disease specialist Priya Soni, MD, and Cedars-Sinai Medical Group pediatrician Karina Eastman, MD, discussed what families should consider before joining a pod.

Some families are forming learning pods so their kids can enjoy the benefits of interacting with peers at such a formative age, the U.S. News & World Report article states.

"I think, given that this is going to be an ongoing issue, we have to start thinking of creative solutions to allow for children to interact with each other a little bit more because in the long run that will really help their psychological and social development," Soni said in the article, which was originally covered by HealthDay.

But safety comes first. Families should set firm guidelines before starting a pod and have a plan in place for what happens if a pod member gets sick.

Eastman explained that it's important to follow public safety guidelines for the sake of one's community. Everyone should wear masks and the pod should limit the number of kids to allow for physical distancing, especially at lunchtime when masks are removed. Stringent cleaning protocols should be maintained, kids should have assigned seats and supplies, and indoor spaces should be well-ventilated.

But following all best practices is no guarantee of safety, Eastman said.

"Even if everybody's doing all the safe things when they're in the school or pod setting, we have to make sure that people are maintaining those same safety precautions and quarantine precautions outside of that," Eastman said in the article. "That child is bringing all of the risk factors of their family into that setting."

Click here to read the complete story from U.S. News & World Report